[OPE-L:5392] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: turnover time and surplus value

From: Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Date: Mon Apr 23 2001 - 09:41:05 EDT

On Sun, 22 Apr 2001, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:

> >Marx's rate of exploitation, s/v, maps onto the division of the
> >aggregate working day into its surplus and necessary components.  s/v
> >rises if the working day is lengthened, cet.par., or if the time of
> >necessary labour is shortened, via an intensification of labour or an
> >improvement in technology which permits the workers to produce their
> >own subsistence in a shorter time.  Any other putative reason for an
> >increase is s/v is flim-flam based on stock-flow confusion.
> Marx does not have one measure of exploitation. May I recommend that
> you, Paul C and Charlie  refer to what Marx called the ANNUAL RATE OF

The "annual rate of surplus value", introduced in Vol. II, should not
be confused with the ordinary rate of surplus value from Vol. I, and
only the latter bears the interpretation of a rate of exploitation.
That is, an increase in the "annual rate of surplus value" can occur
for reasons having nothing to do with a change in the rate of

Suppose a capitalist has $1000 to spend on wages.  He uses this to
employ workers who work half of their time producing their own means
of subsistence and half their time producing surplus value (so that
the rate of exploitation, s/v, is 100%).  Also suppose the daily wage
is $1.

Now consider two scenarios (to keep things simple I assume a 5-day
working week and a working month of 4 such weeks, or 20 days).

Scenario A:

  At the start of each month the capitalist lays out $1000 to employ
50 workers for the month ($1 per worker per day for 20 working days).
At the end of the month the capitalist sells the output for $2000.
Next month the process repeats...

Scenario B:

  At the start of each week the capitalist lays out $1000 to employ
200 workers for the week ($1 per worker per day for 5 working days).
At the end of the week the capitalist sells the output for $2000.
Next week the process repeats...

By assumption, the rate of exploitation is the same in both cases,
100%.  The "annual rate of surplus" value, however, is higher in case
B, where the variable capital "turns over" 4 times more frequently.
As you can see, the real difference between the two cases is that the
capitalist is employing 4 times as many workers in case B;  it's not
that he's exploiting the workers more intensively.

Allin Cottrell.

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